A Member of Parliament and a Senedd Member have called on the council to reconsider its street light switch-off policy – putting them at odds with their Labour colleagues.
Labour members Wayne David MP and Hefin David MS wrote to the Labour-run local authority after being contacted by concerned residents.
The council has already switched off 14,200 street lights between midnight and 5.30am, with a further 8,495 set to follow by the end of the year.
A motion, tabled by Blackwood’s Independent councillor Kevin Etheridge and backed by the Plaid Cymru group, was rejected by councillors earlier this month.
Mr David MP said he understands the council “has to save money in these difficult times”, but said the policy “is causing concern amongst many people, particularly the elderly”.
Mr David MP added: “I would hope that, in the new year, the council gives careful consideration as to whether this is a policy that needs, at least, to be modified.
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“While I fully support the council’s wish to reduce the authority’s carbon footprint, there are other ways in which this can be done.”
Dr David MS said: “People need to feel safe at all times. We would hope that the council listens to what people are saying throughout the borough and modify their policy accordingly.”
Council deputy leader Sean Morgan said: “This approach, which has massive carbon and monetary savings, has previously been used by many other councils and research has shown that there was no evidence of an association between reduced street lighting and increased crime across England and Wales.
“Working in partnership with the police, we monitor any changes and should we see a spike in crime in an area we would rethink our approach in that area.”
Cllr Colin Mann, leader of the council’s Plaid Cymru group, said: “It appears the Labour Senedd Member and the Labour MP have finally woken up to the concerns of their constituents and are asking the Labour council to think again.
“We look forward to a u-turn but don’t think it is good enough to look at this again in the new year. They should stop all further switch-offs of lights due during the rest of 2020 and switch all the others back on as quickly as possible.”
South Wales East’s Plaid Cymru MS, Delyth Jewell, said: “I hope that the council will rethink their decision and will put the lights back on in our communities before we go into the winter.”
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